Assemble a HHO Mini Torch from plumbing parts

Using plumbing parts, consisting of some compression and some solder fittings with the addition of a  ½"  L.P. gas hosetail, its possible to make a very servicable HHO gas torch.
The temps are very low and so solder fittings will work, they also serve to keep the weight down by reducing the number of heavy brass fittings needed.
My cell produces 1 lpm so the standard mig tip will need to be made smaller and we will cover that mod later on.
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Step 1: Parts and exploded view

Picture of Parts and exploded view
The standard 15mm plumbing fittings are...
  1. 6 inches 15mm copper tube
    • 1" section between stopend and elbow.
    • 1 ¼ " section between the coupler and the ball valve.( length is 30mm but 32mm seats well)
    • remaining approx 4" between the elbow and ball valve.
  2. 15mm copper stopend.
  3. 15mm copper 90 ° elbow.
  4. coupler FIxC 15mm x ½ "
  5. ½ " BSP hosetail which is a standard LP gas fitting.
  6. mini ball valve compression fittings on both ends.
  7. mig welder tip either 0.8mm or 0.9mm which will be modified.
  8. a brass nut M6x1.9 for the mig tip.
The mig tip has a metric thread M6x1.0 mm, so you will need to drill and tap suitable material if you dont have a M6 brass nut at hand.

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tesla man7 months ago
I am planning on building a dry HHO cell torch that produces about 1-2 lpm. Do you think that this would be hot enough to melt table salt? (Table salt has a melting point of about 1,500 degrees F). Thanks.
petercd (author)  tesla man7 months ago
Sure will, its only if you dont have enough volume ( LPM ) and the substance is able to shed its heat faster than you can apply it, will it fail to melt. ie small flame on a big chunk of aluminium
tesla man petercd7 months ago
Thanks again
mickeypop10 months ago
I've been using a Brown Gas torch for several years and just used a modified Aceteline torch head, but you left out one small bit.

In the mig tip stuff with some steel wool fairly tight.  The gas will go thru it just fine. 

It will prevent a back flash if the gas pressure ever gets too low and offers a great deal of extra safety.

petercd (author)  mickeypop10 months ago
Yip, I covered that in step3, bronze wool not steel wool, stuffing it in the body(4" piece before the elbow) and the pic of the screen and washer was the attempt to stop the bronze wool from sliding back into the ball valve.

I havent tried steel wool due to the corrosion issue which might block the mig tip.
try it with stainless steel wool?
the steel wool is simply to create a spark arrester to prevent flashback into the tank
gloflyer10 months ago
First, thank you for sharing this article. Water torches are not new. If you look at the Rio Grande web site, you will see that a commercially produced torch for jewelry indeed does use hypodermic needles for torch tips.
Bigger water torches are also used in NYC. It is illegal to use an acetylene torch when doing remodeling, repairs, etc., because of the dangers of having acetylene around. ANY torch can be dangerous. If it wasn't, it probably could not do the job that it was required to do.
Awhile ago, I really wanted a water torch. - No hassles with gas running out, No storing of tanks. I currently have 4 torches. 1. an acetylene air, that I love, but only use out side.2. A propane weed burner that can anneal stuff in a hurry. (Also outside) 3. A small Hoke propane oxygen torch that is very adjustable and allows me to fuse 22g chain links. 4. A small butane torch - that no longer use.

My point in listing these is that each kind is different, each kind has its own safety issues, and you need to familiarize yourself with the safe operation of each kind.

Once again, thank you for a great instructable.

Just curious, what are you going to use it for?
nice site book marked it. cuase ill be looking in to smelting alumuim soon i hope.
petercd (author)  gloflyer10 months ago
When I first heard of the water torches and all the amazing stuff they can do, I did the rounds of local jewelsmiths, but they all used mini traditional gas outfits, so I decided to make my own. I like experimenting with its various aspects also wanted to pop one into the car/bike but got sidetracked with life in general. I also have a range of differing heat applications. :) very handy
skaar9 months ago
perhaps a well isolated switch in the handle, when the valve closes all the way it trips a relay off. to turn it back on you go back to the generator. a secondary switch on a membrane that bulges at high pressure too.
Kiteman10 months ago
How did you generate enough hydrogen and oxygen to feed the torch?

Why is your flame bright yellow? Stoichiometric hydrogen/oxygen* flames are normally almost invisible to the human eye, emitting mostly ultra violet light.

*So-called "HHO" is actually a stoichiometric mixture of 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen by volume.
i agree. however initially i thought this whole thing was photo shopped because of the uniformity of the flame but further investigation suggested otherwise, first i went and scrutinized the image because it was not casting an appropriate amount of light for a flame that size. after that i got the metadata for the images and it checked out, then i did a quick search for hho torches and they also matched pretty closely with color, directional nature of the flame and what-not so if it is a fake, its a damn fine one at that
petercd (author)  kyle brinkerhoff10 months ago
Definitely not fake, heres another one for the files. :)
On this yellow flame issue, I've cleaned the cell replaced the caustic soda electrolyte and still get the yellow flame, even tried different focus modes on the camera to no avail. Anyhow nice work on the well researched comment, patch sent. :)
dual cell flame.JPG
my wookie petercd10 months ago
try changing your hydrogen/oxygen levels
petercd (author)  my wookie10 months ago
I'm working with water... H2o, so Im pretty much stuck with those levels right there.

It's an electrolytic cell, voltage applied to stainless steel plates to seperate the H and O in the water, hence my misnomer HHO. Due to the fact that pure water doesnt conduct electricty in this application, I have to add a catalyst (sodium hydroxide) and the general consensus is that is causing the yellow flame color.
my wookie petercd10 months ago
have you tried using hydrogen peroxide?
petercd (author)  my wookie10 months ago
no, nor baking soda or any of the other weird kitchen concotions some folks think of.
The standard was either caustic soda( my first choice) or potassium hydroxide, new on the scene seems to be exotic mixes of those 2 with citric acid and urea, goes by the name of E-22.
my wookie petercd10 months ago
actually i meant to use that with or instead of water to change your hydrogen/ oxygen levels
petercd (author)  my wookie10 months ago
You're kidding right? :) Chemistry isnt like math, you dont get more hydrogen by adding peroxide, you might get something nasty, besides peroxide is 2H2O so then technically it stays the same.
my wookie petercd10 months ago
i don't mean to argue, but its actually H2O2 (underscore on the 2's) 2H2O would not have a bond between the atoms

and it actually does yield more oxygen...
Kiteman my wookie10 months ago
Hydrogen peroxide doesn't break down by electrolysis, but by decomposition to hydrogen and water. No oxygen.
oh by the way, for those of you who are worried about safety this is a super simple way to take care of any concerns you have
got the patch, thanks!
Actually, I was wondering if he wasn't burning pure hydrogen/oxygen, but had something else contaminating the mix...
MikrySoft Kiteman10 months ago
Flame color looks like sodium to me and caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) electrolyte makes sense. The gas is just contaminated with a trace amounts of sodium.
Bill WW Kiteman10 months ago
Thanks Kiteman, I was reluctant to ask what the heck is HHO.

I'm with Mikry on sodium causing the yellow color. Classic test for sodium. Hydrogen flame is clear, correct?
Kiteman Bill WW10 months ago
Correct. They're quite bright in the UV spectrum, though, so I'm not sure how hazardous they are to your sight. I'd wear dark goggles, to be on the safe side.
petercd (author) 10 months ago
13 x 150mm x 130mm plates in a dual 6 series cell config, as for the yellow flame, dunno beats me, maybe contaminated by the gasket seal. Theres a lot of muck in the electrolyte and the whole cell needs a good cleaning again.
dual side.jpg
mickeypop petercd10 months ago
On the system I built years ago, I use a 3 stage filter i built (never found it pre-made).

1st out of the tank is a spark arrester made from 3.5 inch long 1.5 in diameter PVC tube, 2 caps and PLASTIC barb connectors don't use metal barbs here, 2 pieces of plastic screen to hold in the sand and silica sand.    People in the HHO community use these an cars allot.    The gas goes thru just fine but stops the electrolyte from escaping the tank.
2nd stage is a simple bubbler to clean the gas

last i use a Stanley Propane Torch gas dryer trap from Lowes for around $10 US.

this combo makes for a nice "clean" flame and i don't loose any electrolyte or worry about the electrolyte getting onto my work piece.

By the by;  the flame is blue

rimar200010 months ago
Very interesting and useful, thanks for sharing it.

Can you find a 45° code instead of that 90°? I think it would be more comfortable.
Bill WW rimar200010 months ago
Hola Osvaldo -

La palabra "codo" es "elbow" en Inglés.
(Por supuesto que todavía estoy aprendiendo, escribí por primera vez "coco".)

The Spanish word "codo" is "elbow" in English.
Of course I am still learning, I first wrote "coconut" (coco).
rimar2000 Bill WW10 months ago
Thanks Bill, I did know that, but I am too hasty and wrote "code" instead. I hope they have understood me anyway...
petercd (author)  rimar200010 months ago
I havent seen the 45° bends locally, but you can also use them and thankyou for the patch.
Bill WW10 months ago
Great Instructable, Petercd. Nicely made torch, and educational.

I won't comment on the safety aspects since this is a new technology for me. I presume you know what you are doing.
Hill Strong10 months ago
Have you ever tried exploding this stuff? If you have done it right, it doesn't explode but will cause an implosion. I've done the tests, noisy and messy. I have also dealt with a fellow who sold commercial units that he had built. To get permission from the government for sale, the units had to be destructively tested, and proven to be safe. The base generator was encased in a secondary shell to prevent any escape of liquid under the tank imploding from flashback.

The usual result of the implosion test was damaging the the pressure gauge, everything else was unaffected. Unlike the USA, we have a highly regulated system for all such devices and if any problems is found with safety, then the device is not licensed for sale.

The biggest safety concern would be having the generator continue running long after the torch had been closed off and getting pressure buildup.

Personally, the design looks okay and with a good flashback arrestor (the bubbler method is but one of a couple of suitable methods to be used). I did find that the torch tip, I had used, didn't get that hot when I used it, even after melting brick, making an alloy of copper and iron and sublimating about three inches of a tungsten rod (about 1 mm in diameter), I could still touch it with my bare fingers.

There is much hype out there (both for and against) in regards to this technology. If you want to understand it, you really need to do some tests yourself, making sure that you have reproducible controls in place. Some of this stuff goes back about sixty years under different names. You'll probably find even older references if you look hard enough.

Ummmm detonation - radiation of energy- and then a collapse back into the centre.

But I have had car batteries detonate through shorts in the inner cells and - REALLY dangerous.

That hydrogen / oxygen mix igniting in a confined space - BAD.

I once had a smallish motorcycle battery detonate - right next to me on a bike I was trying to start... probably no more than a cup full of gas ignited - blew the side of the battery out and I thought someone had pointed a shot gun at me from like 3 meters away and had shot at me....

Could not find or see any signs of a gun nut in the bushes, but the bike would not start either...

Then I saw the effects out the side of the battery.

I'd be frightened to death of a whole heap of HHO igniting inside a large container...

REAL hand grenade type stuff.

Wroger-Wroger10 months ago
I think HHO torches SHOULD if indeed MUST have a separate gassing chambers for each electrode, and separate gas hoses and the mixing ought to be done in a tip made for external mixing.

Hydrogen / Oxygen explosions are - just total and instant devastation.

I have also found that TIN-LEAD sodders, do NOT stick well to BRASS (zink copper or is that tin copper) fittings - they have a habit of "falling apart".

Also you NEED a flash back arrestor in this device.... or in the line - a very fine bubbler water tank will do.
PS11810 months ago
I'm very interested in this. Particularly the fact that you can create a blowtorch that can (indirectly) burn on electricity. Of course it wouldn't make sense for heating, but as a tool.

In fact, unlike organic-combustion torches, you'd run less risk of inadvertently carbourizing your metal.

So I'm curious. How hot is this compared to standard torches? (propane/mapp/acetylene...) Also, how even is the flame?

Also, I really like your electrolysis cell. I don't know how the hose attaches, but maybe another flashback suppressor inside the cell would be a good safety feature as well.
PS118 PS11810 months ago
One more idea. Instead of using the valve to regulate the flame, could you vary the voltage to the producer cell? I'm just thinking that could eliminate some potentially exhilarating mistakes.
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